WWE Monday Night Raw
Nia Jax vs. Scarlett
Keeping with the recent trend, another significant indie name in Scarlett Bordeaux made her debut against Nia Jax this week. It fuels speculation that it may be part of a try-out or generally just to introduce us names prior to the international women’s tournament that is rumored to be in the works. Scarlett is in the ring wearing none other than a Sasha Banks' t-shirt, and while chances are that it was someone else’s idea, I enjoy thinking she did it herself to stand out. Either way, Jax ain’t having it.
Nia makes quick work of Scarlett, knocking her down immediately and beating her into the corner. It takes little more than a couple of splashes in the corner and a Samoan Drop to end this match. Though it was blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, I’m able to buy into the idea that Nia wants this pesky Sasha Banks fan out of her sight as quickly as possible. However her mini-promo at the end, where she says “find a gooder role model” is a bit cringey. Turning Nia into the big and stupid trope is the worst thing they could do.
Winner: Nia Jax
Bayley Hearts Chicago
After a truly heartwarming backstage segment with Goldust where Bayley gave him a Bayley Bear dressed as Dusty Rhodes, the crowd welcomed her with open arms. She returned the love, saying how Chicago is a special place to her. Bayley gloats about how she’s pinned Charlotte 3 times in a row which makes her the no.1 contender and that this is all she’s ever wanted. Who should show up to rain on this parade but the queen herself, Charlotte Flair.
Let’s be honest, that belt looks so good around Charlotte’s waist, and she’s really come into the character. First, she tells Bayley that when they used to talk about Bayley’s dreams of holding the Women’s Championship, Charlotte would laugh at her the whole time. Then, because that’s not enough, she informs Bayley that she lawyered-up last week, and actually had the win expunged from the record books. However, she’ll give one more opportunity for Bayley to get the win back, provided she has an official who will call things fairly. Cue Dana Brooke’s music and a chorus of groans.
Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair
It’s surprising at first that they’d give this match away on free TV, especially given it will probably be the Rumble and possibly even WrestleMania. However, a few minutes of shenanigans make it clear this is no wrestling match. Charlotte gets an elbow on Bayley after Dana distracts and drives her into the corner for those Flair family chops. She takes a moment to mock Bayley and the more than Dana gets involved, the less patience she has. Bayley turns things around in an instant and pushes Dana off of her. She hits a Bayley to Belly and incapacitates the referee of this match up. Chalrotte knocks her down and grounds and pounds just in time for a new ref, who, disappointingly, is not Little Naitch, to enter the ring.
Bayley fights back and Charlotte hits a knee to the midsection, and the two exchange some blows, knocking each other’s heads into the turnbuckle. Bayley manages to hit the top rope Crossbody, and covers, but Charlotte kicks out. Charlotte hits a Backbreaker and covers, but Bayley kicks out. Finally, she goes for the Figure 8 but Bayley catches her and reverses it into the Bayley to Belly and just as she’s about to get the win, Dana pulls the ref out. She shouts that she’s the official here. Bayley, furious, chases her around the ring, which she should know will only let Charlotte get a cheap roll-up with her feet on the ropes. Dana pulls a fast count and though the match wasn’t anything near what these two are capable of, it furthered the story well.
Winner: Charlotte Flair
Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch fro the SmackDown Women's Championship
After posing as La Luchadora, Becky Lynch was able to pin the SmackDown Women’s Champion
Alexa Bliss and earn herself another shot at the title. Alexa doesn’t look quite as arrogantly confident as usual, and for good reason as the veteran ties her up in submission holds early on. She crawls to the ropes and tries again, the two going back and forth with holds. Becky Shoulder Tackles and Sunset Flips but a series of roll ups don’t allow anyone to get the upper hand. On one of them, Becky ends it with her beautiful matrix escape and tries to lock in the Dis-Arm-Her but Alexa is able to get out of it and hits the STO. Alexa has more confidence now, standing on Becky’s back and driving her face into the mat. Another cover and kick out, Becky Lynch starts to fight back with arm drags and a drop kick.
A Baseball Slide causes the two to spill onto the outside and Alexa is able to demonstrate some aggression. She slams Becky’s head into the apron, and although Becky reverses, she gets the last word by shoving her into the ring post. Back in the ring, Alexa has the upper hand and she’s acting like it. Relentlessly attacking Becky and bending the rules works for her at first, until she misses with the set up to Insult to Injury. Becky sees the opening to gain back her momentum with European Uppercuts and kicks. Bliss doesn’t allow her to get the Bex-sploder, but she does find herself in a bad way once Becky hits an Inverted Arm Breaker. She goes to the top but Alexa isn’t done yet, and she’s only able to get a Drop Kick. Suddenly, La Luchadora runs out and distracts Becky, allowing Alexa to get momentum back. This time, she hits Insult to Injury but when Bliss kicks out, she goes for a Twisted Bliss. Becky gets the knees up and eventually locks in the Dis-Arm-Her. Alexa manages to get the foot to the ropes, but her arm looks completely bent out of shape (Bliss likely is double-jointed), which adds a great visual and drama to the match.
La Luchadora is at it again, distracting Becky and driving her into the exposed turnbuckle. It gives Alexa the opportunity to capitalize with a DDT for the cover and three count. Afterward, Alexa is asked who La Luchadora is and she brushes it off, maybe it’s Nia Jax. Although I don’t totally understand where this La Luchadora thing is going, the rest of the storytelling in this feud is really quite excellent. The first time these two met Alexa was way over her head, then she got a fluky win, then she started to show more and more every time they face off. It’s come to a head here, where they’re incredibly evenly matched, which is saying a lot for a girl who only learned to lock up three years ago. Her incredibly quick learning curve should be the centerpiece of her next feud.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Aliyah and Liv Morgan vs. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce
In a rematch from their past match ups, Liv Morgan and Aliyah take on Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. Though she’s still green as they come, Aliyah’s packaging has come a long way in the past few months and it’s starting to feel like she’s finding her voice. Peyton Royce, despite being very capable, not so much. Billie Kay and Liv Morgan lock up, and Billie slams her down, but Liv trips her and goes for an early roll up. She rolls Billie around the ring, getting one count roll ups. She gets some help from Aliyah in a double team move and double kip-ups. Aliyah tries to out muscle Billie, but Peyton interferes. She hits a backflip arm drag, but Peyton reverses with a Backbreaker.
The double-teaming begins, which, given that Liv and Aliyah did it first, is a sloppy storytelling move. In the corner, they kick Aliyah down and Billie puts in a Cross Face submission. After more double-teaming, Aliyah almost manages to make the tag, but she’s pulled all the way back to the other corner and is slammed down with a double Suplex. Back in the corner, she manages to kick out of a cover, but is head-butted by Billie, who then punches Liv off the apron. Still, after she lands on her feet from a Suplex, she gets a hot tag to Liv and there are Clotheslines all around. Liv hits a Bulldog and then the STO, but her cover is broken up. Aliyah goes after Peyton, but instead of helping them, she ends up giving an opportunity for an unseen tag and a forearm to Liv’s jaw by Peyton. She pins Liv for the victory. It seemed a little on the sloppy side. However, for a house show, which this episode essentially was, it was fine.
Winner: Billie Kay and Peyton Royce
Nia Jax vs. Auska for the NXT Women’s Championship
You want competition Auska? Well just you wait, in Osaka, Japan, you’ll be facing…Nia Jax…again. Corey and Tom make an effort to explain how Nia Jax’s tenure on Raw has changed her as a competitor, but it still feels a little flimsy. That aside, the match starts off with an interesting approach, Nia just rag-dolling Auska around. Auska tries to get an octopus hold in and seems to stop the momentum, but as she goes for a guillotine, Nia lifts her up with her power and then just sort of gently places her down. Auska runs at Nia and is planted on the ground, she wraps Auska up in the rope and then runs her into the turnbuckle. Everything in these sequences is slow moving, which could also be said of Auska’s meeting with Mickie Jax’s as well, but this one feels particularly tired. Auska fights back again and gets planted again, she kicks out of a weak cover and Nia beats up on her for a few more minutes.
There’s an incredibly awkward cover from Auska getting out of the Samoan drop, and Nia kicks out. She sidewalk slams Auska, covers her, and Auska kicks out. Despite Auska having the stiffest strikes in the business, Nia’s largely no-selling them, save for falling onto one knee. She gets the Cobra Clutch on Auska, who breaks out, and gets a Hurricarana into a knee bar. This should be devastating to Nia, but she simply stands up and picks Auska up with her. I can’t help but feel a missed opportunity for Nia to have a prominent Achille’s heel such as a low pain tolerance or a tendency to underestimate her opponent. That’s not the story of this match, She sent through the ropes but lands on her feet, Auska hits the Hip Attack, but then is slammed to the apron off a jump. Nia keeps getting back in the ring while Auska is getting counted out, as though she doesn’t understand how this works. Eventually, Auska gets a second wind, and after another awkward cover, she locks in the Arm Bar. Nia stand sup with it again, and not long after reverses a Sleeper Hold into a Power Bomb. Auska’s last stand involves her signature kicks and strikes followed by a very impressive German Suplex and a cover for three. I find myself unsatisfied with the approach to Nia’s character, and it's just not believable that one of the greatest women’s wrestlers of all time is could be dominated to this extreme. It was also disappointingly sloppy for an NXT championship match. Maybe everyone was tired from the jet lag or something.
So there you have it, the breakdown for the week in women's wrestling. What were some of your favorite and least favorite moments from these women? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
MATCH OF THE WEEK: Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch for the SmackDown Women's Championship
WOMAN OF THE WEEK: Alexa Bliss